STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Tiffany Mitchell scored 21 points, including nine in a tight fourth quarter, and No. 2 South Carolina beat No. 10 Mississippi State 57-51 on Sunday.
South Carolina (19-0, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) led for almost the entire second half, but struggled to fight off Mississippi State in the final minutes. The Bulldogs cut South Carolina's lead to 44-43 with 3:30 left, but Mitchell responded with five straight points to help push the Gamecocks to the road win.
Tina Roy added 11 points for the Gamecocks. Khadijah Sessions scored 10, including a crucial 15-foot jumper with 30 seconds left to give South Carolina a 53-49 lead.
Mississippi State (17-4, 4-3) has lost two straight games. The Bulldogs were playing in front of a program-record 10,626 fans, but couldn't deliver the victory.
Victoria Vivians led Mississippi State with 19 points. Mississippi State shot just 16 of 59 (27.1 percent) from the field.
A'ja Wilson, South Carolina's leading scorer, was held to just six points, but Mitchell, Roy and others picked up the slack.
Roy banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Gamecocks a 22-20 lead at halftime.
It was a rare offensive highlight during a defensive-oriented game. Both teams struggled to get open looks in the first half -- Mississippi State shot just 9 of 31 (29 percent) from the field while South Carolina was only a little better at 7 of 20 (35 percent).
The Gamecocks didn't exactly heat up in the second half, but they did enough to win the game.
The defensive showdown was no surprise. Both teams are averaging less than 60 points per game in the series since Dawn Staley became South Carolina's coach in 2008.
South Carolina had a 40-31 rebounding advantage. Alaina Coates and Wilson both had 11 rebounds.
South Carolina: Wilson came into the game averaging 21.5 points and 11.3 rebounds against ranked opponents.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have hosted two of the three largest crowds in program history over the past two games. More than 7,100 came to watch Mississippi State beat rival Ole Miss on Monday.
South Carolina hosts Mississippi on Thursday.
Mississippi St hosts No. 18 Tennessee on Thursday.